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Jazz notes: Sloan irked about ESPN's mistake

Published: Saturday, Dec. 15 2007 12:31 a.m. MST

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jerry Sloan swore. The nation heard. ESPN apologized.

Such was the course of events Wednesday night in Phoenix, where a cuss word from Sloan uttered during halftime of the Jazz's ESPN-televised game against the Suns inadvertently made it onto the cable network's broadcast.

The longtime Jazz coach was none too happy about the fact and let it be known when asked Friday.

"They told me there wouldn't be any mistakes," Sloan said. "I was guaranteed that there would be nothing that would go over the air, when they first came out and talked about (putting a camera and microphone in the locker room) — a guarantee that there will be nothing that will be harmful to you. Now I end up the bad guy right off the bat.

"They misrepresented the whole situation to me," he added. "There's nothing I can do about it. I just work here."

The game was the second the Jazz have played in since the NBA allowed ESPN and the league's other national network partners open access to the locker rooms of both home and visiting teams before games, at halftime and afterward.

Coaches also are forced to wear microphones during games, and to conduct one between-quarters interview.

All comments are taped, and selected ones are shown throughout the broadcast on a delayed basis.

League and network censors are supposed to monitor what is said so that nothing inappropriate is heard, but in this case a clip of Sloan's halftime talk apparently ran a couple seconds longer than intended.

The chat began with Sloan demanding that his players exhibit more toughness, and telling them that they have it to offer.

The Jazz coach could then be heard quietly saying how much time remained on the clock until the second half, with a seven-letter expletive preceding the words "four minutes."

An ESPN representative was waiting at the Jazz's team bus after the game to meet with Sloan, explain what happened and apologize.

Sloan also said Friday that he thought cameras — and presumably microphones — would no longer be permitted in the Jazz locker room.

But it may not be so simple.

"There's discussion," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said.

"We'll try to abide by whatever the league tells us to do," O'Connor added, "but I certainly don't want to say there won't be (cameras in the room). That's not accurate. What I will say is I hope they all look at it."

O'Connor said he's spoken about the incident with officials from both ESPN and the NBA and that the franchise "absolutely" was willing to accept the network's apology.

"It's certainly not gonna happen again," the Jazz GM said. "And we'll figure out a way for it. I don't know what that way is right now."

Sloan, meanwhile, suggested such an episode was inevitable.

"That was what was gonna happen in the first place, it appeared to me," he said. "I mean, this (the locker room) is kind of a private thing we're in sometimes.

"Then something like that comes out, you get a black eye for it," added Sloan, who admittedly has a salty tongue. "What are you gonna do about it?"

The Jazz's next major-network game, incidentally, is Jan. 10 at Phoenix — on TNT. They currently are scheduled for one more ESPN game — their season finale, April 16 at San Antonio.

OKUR OUT: Jazz starting center Mehmet Okur didn't play Friday against Portland and plans to undergo precautionary testing today — both X-rays and an MRI — on his sore left shoulder.

"I really thought it was just bruised," said Okur, an All-Star last season. "Then I just can't move. I can't reach, like, 100 percent. So I just want to make sure everything is OK."

Okur injured the shoulder when Utah fell to Portland last Tuesday, and he didn't play in Wednesday's loss at Phoenix. On Friday, he wasn't sure if he'd able to play when the Jazz face Seattle tonight.

"It depends how I feel," Okur said. "I want to be out there ... But I can't reach, I can't move up and down. I can't imagine myself with contact inside, pushing each other."

HE SAID IT: Miami Herald sportswriter Dan Le Batard, speaking on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" show about Sloan getting caught swearing: "The surprise is if he doesn't do that."


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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